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Billy Crudup as
Jon Osterman / Dr. Manhattan


Osterman is a physicist who was transformed into a blue-skinned, radiated powerful being after he was disintegrated in an Intrinsic Field Subtractor in 1959. He had returned to the chamber to retrieve his girlfriend's watch (which he had repaired), and was accidentally locked inside when the Subtractor started automatically.

Jon was blown into atoms, with nothing left of his body. Within a few months, his disembodied consciousness managed to reconstruct a physical body for itself. Following his reanimation, he is immediately pressed into service by the United States government, which gives him the name Doctor Manhattan, after the Manhattan Project.

He is the only character in the story that possesses actual superpowers. Though he dabbles briefly in crime-fighting, his greatest influence is to grant the U.S. a strategic advantage over the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

His most significant action takes place after he is personally asked by President Richard Nixon to intervene in the Vietnam War, leading to an unqualified victory for the U.S. with the defeat of North Vietnam and the Vietcong, preventing the collapse of the Saigon government.


Since he works for the U.S. government, he is exempt from the provisions of the Keene Act, but spends much of his time doing advanced technology research and development, and physics research.

He is single-handedly responsible for the shift to electric-powered vehicles (by synthesizing the needed elements and chemicals himself) and Veidt credits him with causing a huge leap forward in myriad areas of science and technology.

As a result, the technology of the alternative 1985 of the Watchmen universe is far more advanced. After the death of his father in 1969, he does not conceal his birth name and is referenced as "Jon" or "Dr. Osterman".

Doctor Manhattan was partly based on DC Comic's Captain Atom, who in Moore's original proposal was surrounded by the shadow of nuclear threat. However, the writer found he could do more with Manhattan as a "kind of a quantum super-hero" than he ever could have with Captain Atom.


Moore sought to delve into nuclear physics and quantum physics in constructing the character of Dr. Manhattan. The writer believed that a character living in a quantum universe would not perceive time with a linear perspective, which would influence the character's perception of human affairs.

Moore also wanted to avoid creating an emotionless character like Spock from Star Trek, so he sought for Dr. Manhattan to retain "human habits" and to grow away from them and humanity in general.

Gibbons had created the blue character Rogue Trooper, and explained he reused the blue skin motif for Doctor Manhattan as it resembles skin tonally, but has a different hue. Moore incorporated the color into the story, and Gibbons noted the rest of the comic's color scheme made Manhattan unique.

The blue skin color is explained as being a result of Cherenkov radiation. Moore recalled that he was unsure if DC would allow the creators to depict the character as fully nude, which partially influenced how they portrayed the character.


Gibbons wanted to tastefully depict Manhattan's nudity, selecting carefully when full frontal shots would occur and giving him "understated" genitals � like a classical sculpture � so the reader would not initially notice it.

Dr. Manhattan's forehead is marked with the atomic structure of hydrogen, which he put on himself, declining a helmet with the atom symbol.

His powers include superhuman strength, telekinesis, teleportation, control over matter at a subatomic level, and near-total clairvoyance (though limited to events that he will directly experience in the future; Manhattan notes in a television interview that he is not omniscient).

He can change the size of his body and duplicate himself at will. He perceives the past, present and future as happening simultaneously, but states that he cannot act on that knowledge since his own actions and reactions to events (as is reality itself) are predetermined.


Even as a human, his major actions were always influenced by others, such as him training in quantum physics because his father insisted he search for a job that would be more relevant in the future than his own role as a watchmaker.

His ability to see the future can be blocked by a surge of tachyons, such as that released when Ozymandias puts the final step of his plan into action. He also admits to withholding his powers to their full potential because he knows it is not his right to abuse them.

In the Watchmen film, Doctor Manhattan is a CGI character whose body is modeled after fitness model Greg Plitt, with voice, motion capture, and facial performance provided by Billy Crudup (who also plays Osterman prior to his transformation).

During filming, Crudup acted opposite his co-stars, wearing a white suit covered in blue LEDs, so he would give off an otherworldly glow in real life, just as the computer-generated Manhattan does in the movie. The crew 3D-digitized Crudup's head and "frankensteined it onto Greg Plitt's body."

Snyder chose not to electronically alter Crudup's voice for Manhattan, explaining the character "would try and put everyone as much at ease as he could, instead of having a robotic voice that I think would feel off-putting."



Resources: imdb.com, Wikipedia.org




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Jon dresses in a suit and tie (without physically touching his clothes) and zaps himself over to a TV studio for an interview.

Janet Black: Doctor Manhattan as you know the Doomsday Clock is a symbolic clock face analogizing humankind's proximity to extinction, midnight representing the threat of nuclear war. As of now it stands at four minutes to midnight. Would you agree that we are that close to annihilation?

Dr. Manhattan: My father was a watch maker. He abandoned it when Einstein discovered time is relative. I would only agree that a symbolic clock is as nourishing to the intellect as photograph of oxygen to a drowning man.


At the interview, Manhattan is accused of afflicting many of his former colleagues with cancer.

Dr. Manhattan: A live human body and a deceased human body have the same number of particles. Structurally there's no difference.

His once very close girlfriend, Janey Slater, appears and reveals that she too is stricken, and she damns Jon in public. In the ensuing press scrum, Jon screams "leave me alone", and he zaps everyone out of the studio.


At the same time, while Dan and Laurie are walking to Hollis', they are confronted by a large gang of street thugs. Dressed in their street clothes, they defend themselves with vigor.


Dr. Manhattan teleports himself to Mars.

Dr. Manhattan: I am looking at the stars. They are so far away, and their light takes so long to reach us. All we ever see of stars is their old photographs.

There he recalls many events in a haphazard order. Years ago he had a loving relationship with Janie; he reassembled a watch with his father.


Flashbacks continue: He was trapped in an atomic chamber by a time lock before a lab accident turned him from a human scientist, Jon Osterman, into Dr. Manhattan. Manhattan is slowly "resurrected" as a nervous system, a skeleton, and finally, a blue humanoid.

Dr. Manhattan: I feel fear, for the last time.


TV news reports "Superman exists and he is an American". Dr. Manhattan is told he needs a logo, and he draws a circle with a dot in the middle on his forehead, a symbol of a hydrogen atom.

Dr. Manhattan: In January 1971, President Nixon asks me to intervene in Vietnam, something that his predecessors would not ask. A week later the conflict ends. Some of the Viet Cong forces want to surrender to me personally.


Wally Weaver: You see, at the time I was misquoted. I never said 'Superman exists and he is American', what I said was 'God exists and he is American'. Now if you begin to feel an intense and crushing feeling of religious terror at the concept, don't be alarmed. That indicates only that you are still sane.

The flashback continues how he fell in love with Laurie.

Dr. Manhattan: Janey accuses me of chasing jailbait. She bursts into angry tears, asking if it's because she's getting older. It's true. She's aging more noticeably every day - while I am standing still. I prefer the stillness here. I am tired of Earth. These people. I am tired of being caught in the tangle of their lives.

The flashbacks end, and Dr. Manhattan begins to build a large, watch-like device on Mars.

Dr. Manhattan: They claim their labors are to build a heaven, yet their heaven is populated with horrors. Perhaps the world is not made. Perhaps nothing is made. A clock without a craftsman. It's too late. Always has been, always will be. Too late.


Nixon, Kissinger and the war cabinet consider the recent events with the Soviet Union and prepare for war. Nixon seems willing to lose the East coast in a nuclear war with the Soviets, and he tells them to begin fueling America's bomber planes. Nixon says Dr. Manhattan has two days to solve the problems, and he "hopes he's on our side".


Lee Iaccoca and other industrial leaders have a disagreeable meeting with Adrian.

Adrian: You wanna know my past? Okay. Happily. It's a matter of public record that by seventeen both my parents were dead, leaving me alone. I guess you could say I've always been alone. I mean, they say I'm the smartest man in the world, but the truth is I've often felt stupid at being unable to relate to anybody.

Well... anyone living, that is. The only person with whom I felt any kinship died three hundred years before the birth of Christ. Alexander of Macedonia, or Alexander the Great, as you know him. His vision of a United world, well, it was unprecedented.

I wanted, needed to match his accomplishments, and so I resolved to apply antiquity's teachings to our world today, and so began my path to conquest. Conquest not of men, but of the evils that beset them. Fossil Fuels. Oil. Nuclear Power. Like a drug, and you, gentlemen, along with foreign interests, are the pushers.


Lee Iacocca: Now listen.

Adrian: No. You listen. The world will survive. And it deserves more than you've been able to provide. So let's cut to it, shall we? Privately I'm worth more than all of your corporations combined, I could buy and sell you three times over, which is something you should factor into your decision should you choose to make our disagreement public. I think you know the way out. . . Gentlemen.

Adrian Veidt's Assistant: The toy people wanna talk to you about some new villains for the Ozymandias line. Seems all the old villains are dead.

Lee Iacocca: Mr Veidt?

Adrian: I think I have some ideas.


As Iaccoca apologizes, the elevator door opens, and a deliveryman starts shooting. Veidt eludes the bullets, one of which hits Iaccoca between the eyes, and subdues the shooter but the man swallows a poison pill, froths at the mouth, and dies.


Laurie and Daniel discuss the attack as they lunch at the Gunga Diner. Daniel says that it is not safe for the former heroes, and as they leave the diner, he suggests Laurie move in with him, for safety. She agrees, and they leave the diner.


We hear Rorschach's voice over, in which he says that he is watching them walk away, but not in his costume. Rorschach later reviews the ID card of the man who tried to kill Adrian. The man worked for Pyramid International and Rorschach remembers he had seen a letter from Pyramid earlier at Moloch's apartment.





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